Croker declares fitness after cleaning up at Dally Ms
Canberra captain and Dally M Captain of the year Jarrod Croker says a knee strain won't keep him out of Four Nations contention.
After a successful night at rugby league's end of season awards gala in which he also received the prestigious Provan Summons award for the fans' favourite player and the leading point scorer award, the likeable Goulburn junior brushed concerns over the knee brace that caused him to hobble on and off stage when receiving his awards.
"There's no surgery required, it's just medial ligaments," Croker told NRL.com.
"The brace is just to keep it tight and tighten the joints back up. I'm not sure how long I've got to wear it for but it makes me walk a lot worse than I actually would otherwise but it's not that bad.
"I go in and see the physio and the guys again when I get home and they'll reassess it and get a proper gauge on where we're at."
Croker said if Canberra had made the Grand Final he'd have done everything in his power to be cleared to play and had no doubt if he did get a Kangaroos call up he'd be fit to play after being named in the train-on squad.
"I'd play, I'd make myself right to play!" Croker laughed of a possible Test debut.
"But we'll worry about that when all the decisions come down and in the meantime I'll just worry about getting it right and if that phone call does come I'll make sure I get it right to go.
"We get a good break [from club training], we get eight or nine weeks off and if I was to rest for half that amount of time I'd be fine. Honestly if we played this weekend I would have done everything to be able to play. The extent of it, I'm not too sure but I don't think it's that bad."
Croker said he was stunned by both his awards but equally surprised his teammates didn't feature more prominently in the Dally M team of the year alongside centre Joey Leilua and coach Ricky Stuart, to go with Croker's captain's gong.
"It's very pleasing, I honestly didn't expect the captain's one or the Provan Summons," he said.
"I'm very honoured to receive those awards. I couldn't have done it without the boys and the coaches and obviously family and friends. It's nice to be able to take them home but I'd give them all back to be able to play again on the weekend but it's a great night and congratulations to everyone who received awards.
"We've seen 'Sticky' get the coach's award and Hodgson I thought would have been a little bit higher up in the Dally Ms, he had a fantastic season so he could easily have picked up another award, and Jordan Rapana could have [been named winger], Josh Papalii [second rower] and that's no disrespect to anyone that's received awards but it's good the boys are getting the accolades they deserve.
"Hopefully we're just starting something and we can go one step closer next year."
Croker echoed sentiments expressed by his coach that this year's experience would stand Canberra's young squad in good stead in the next season or two with virtually the entire roster locked in for another year or two.
"It is the feeling at the moment [that the experience will help in the future] but obviously going into last week's game that wasn't the feeling at all, we felt we were good enough to go all the way," he said.
"I still don't think we doubted that, we just didn't get the result on the night.
"We've got a few good semi finals games under our belts, we're all in it together for the next couple of years, everyone's signed for the next couple of years and we're a reasonably young group.
"A lot of those younger players have got some finals experience now as well so it's a good position but we can't just rock up and expect it all to happen for us next year, we've got to work even harder in the off season and get ready to go again."